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What Is Optometric Vision Therapy?

Optometric Vision Therapy (often called just Vision Therapy, VT or OVT) is a programme of activities, prescribed by an optometrist, to allow patients to have the opportunity to develop the efficient vision they need for comfort and success. Following a full assessment, OVT is individually programmed for the specific needs of each patient.

When the visual system works more efficiently, and vision has improved, then the directed action also improves. This shows itself in improved school performance in reading, writing, comprehension and thinking, improved sports performance and improved self esteem, with less effort and tiredness.

What Does It Involve?

Optometric Vision Therapy can be used for eye problems such as inefficient focussing or focussing speed, difficulties in eye alignment, oculomotor (eye movement) dysfunction as well as amblyopia (lazy eye), strabismus (squint), diplopia (double vision) or other binocular problems. It is often helpful for difficulties in literacy, numeracy, dyslexia, dyspraxia, for those with Aspergers syndrome or autism, and those with Acquired Brain Injury (ABI).  It can also be used for athletes to gain more efficient vision so that they can see things more quickly, evaluate relative position more accurately, tire less and demonstrate enhanced overall performance.

Optometric Vision Therapy works on the development of visual skill including the ability to:-

  • team both eyes together efficiently and equally so that no interference exists between the two eyes that result in having to suppress or block information from one eye or the other. Once there is efficient teaming then we continue to work in OVT to develop depth perception and stereopsis;

  • aim both eyes on a series of stationary objects quickly, seeing it singly and at the same time know what each object is and it’s position;

  • change focus quickly and efficiently, without blur, from far to near and from near to far, over and over, effortlessly and at the same time look for meaning and obtain understanding from the symbols or objects seen;

  • follow a moving object smoothly, accurately, and effortlessly with both eyes and at the same time think, talk, read or listen without losing alignment of eyes;

  • see over a large area combining central and peripheral information and awareness, and improving spatial awareness.

Our programme of OVT follows a developmental progression and includes activities related to the learning from the primitive reflexes, and the gaining of gross and fine motor skill. To read more on primitive reflexes click here.

The success of the OVT programme depends on the individual and, in the case of a child, his/her parents, keeping to the activities prescribed, and practising every day. Some equipment is needed for OVT and this will be supplied as needed.

Patients with Strabismus and Amblyopia  can gain improvements  with OVT.   To read more on Strabismus and Amblyopia click here.

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